Third- and sixth-graders took the California Assessment Program (CAP) test last spring. But it was their schools that got report cards: detailed summaries from the Department of Education of how each school fared in teaching reading, writing, math and other basic subjects.
Since the state began releasing scores to schools last month, educators throughout the Southland have been studying them for clues to what they are doing right and areas where they could improve.
The test scores are not intended to disclose very much about any one student or classroom. Educators believe they are useful in assessing a school's or a district's performance, and local school districts use CAP scores for everything from fine-tuning their curriculum to evaluating principals.
A drop in CAP scores can be a goad to improving a school, while an increase in scores can be viewed as evidence that efforts to improve are working.